Lifespring Church and Council a step nearer to securing sustainable future for Drill Hall

Published: 07 Mar 2024

Drill Hall

At a Cabinet meeting of Horsham District Council on 21 March 2024, senior councillors will look to approve the acquisition of Horsham’s Drill Hall by Lifespring Church.

The Council was initially approached by Lifespring Church in May 2023 with a proposal to acquire the Drill Hall facility and fully refurbish it to create a modern, sustainable community hub and conference centre, as well as an administrative base and place of worship.

Lifespring Church and the Council have been working closely together to agree appropriate terms for the sale, subject to a number of conditions. Since making the proposal, both the Church and the Council have successfully carried out a series of feedback sessions with current Drill Hall users and potential future users to establish their needs for a more sustainable future for the Drill Hall as a community asset for the future.

An ongoing dialogue has been maintained with local community groups throughout the collaborative work to deliver the proposal. Interested parties were all briefed before final reports were submitted and were all in agreement with the suggestions.

Lifespring’s aim is to actively support a broad range of community functions so that the Drill Hall is transformed into becoming a central community hub for everyone. Services they are hoping to provide, either directly or facilitate through partners, include use for a family hub and registered contact centre, toddler groups, after school and holiday clubs, youth services and a community café to help ease social isolation.

As well as running courses and providing advice on topics such as life skills, debt advice and budgeting, the Church is also keen to see the space used for musical practice and performance, as an art gallery and for conferences, meetings and events. This will be a facility for the whole of Horsham District.

Lifespring intends to upgrade the building in a sustainable manner sensitive to its character and history. Alterations are likely to include improved ventilation, sustainable heat pumps, solar PV panels and energy efficient lighting as well as modernised IT capability, fire and safety upgrades and improved accessibility.

For more information on their proposal, visit the Lifespring Church website.

Horsham District Council Leader Cllr Martin Boffey commented: “At the core of our considerations for any business proposals to secure the future of the Drill Hall are first and foremost the protection of the venue as an ongoing community facility, improved environmental sustainability in line with our District's Climate Action Strategy and the preservation of the military history and provenance of the important site.

“As a council we believe that the proposal presented by Lifespring will fully achieve all of these objectives. I am pleased that we have now reached the stage where we can agree terms for Lifespring to acquire the Drill Hall and secure its future at the heart of Horsham town centre for future generations.”

Commenting on their proposal, Lifespring Church spokesperson Dan Young said: “We are now really excited to be moving a step closer to fully acquiring the Drill Hall and welcome the opportunity to develop and restore it into a more sustainable community hub for all to enjoy, whilst honouring the building’s heritage.

“Thank you to all those who took part in our recent feedback surveys, both existing hirers and potential new users. The survey findings have revealed that this facility is certainly a much- loved venue in the centre of the town and have been key to informing us about what kinds of activities and events are important to local communities going forward.

"Firm favourites such as the ever-popular beer festival and regular art exhibitions are still very much on the agenda as they are so important to local people. We are especially keen to retain the events and activities of existing hirers. We look forward to playing an active role in securing this local asset for the future.”